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My humble self celebrating with Kabiyesi Olubadan Emmanuel Adegboyega Adeyemo, Operinde 1 at his Isale 'Jebu Palace on Kabiyesi's 90th birthday on January 1,1995.

Royal Conversations As Training Tools

BY OLOYE ‘LEKAN ALABI

At the coronation of Olubadan, Oba Emmanuel Adegboyega Adeyemo, Operinde 1 on  January 14,1994 at Mapo Hall, Oja ‘Ba Ibadan.

Friday, September 29, 2023 was the 4th month that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, took over the reins of government IN Nigeria from his immediate predecessor, retired Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.   

It was also the fourth month that my sponsored documentary, urging Nigerian governments, Federal, states and local, to restore the dignity of our Paramount Rulers, long taken away and rubbished by the former British colonialists, and, regrettably, by some post-indepence military/civilian administrations.

That self-sponsored appeal was transmitted on the BCOS-TV on the 22nd and 29th May,this year (2023).

This post, titled: “Royal Coversations As Training Tools”, is a fallback on traditional/ royal lessons one has been privileged to learn from youth.

I was the regular umbrellar-boy of the Mogaji of our Ekerin Ajengbe Chiertaincy Family, the late Mogaji Gbadamosi Ajengbe, of Ile Ekerin Ajengbe, SW1/131, Isale-Osi Area, Ibadan, Oyo State, whose two predecessors, had risen to Ekerin Balogun Ibadan, in the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively.

Mogaji Gbadamosi was a contemporary of the late Olubadan Yesufu Oloyede, Asanike 1. Ile Ekerin Ajengbe is the ancestral home of Mama Asma’u Odunola Alabi, the late Woman Leader of the NCNC in Ibadan, under Adegoke Adelabu Penkelemesi in the 1950’s.

Mama Odunola was my paternal grandmother, married to my late grandfather, Pa AbdulSalam Adegbola Alabi, alias Alabi Owoniwon, famous cocoa merchant/financier of Onigambari Village, Oluyole Local Government Area.

I was installed the Mogaji of my Oyetunji Olundegun Chieftaincy Family, Ile Oye, SW2/486, Ita Aaregbe-Omo, Isale ‘Jebu, Ibadan on November 30, 1994, by the 38th Olubadan Emmanuel Adegboyega Adeyemo, Operinde 1.

It was during the reign of Olubadan Operinde 1 that my closeness to the Olubadan Palace started. One will not be wrong to state that the closeness marked my tutelage of the Ibadanland Traditional Chieftaincy system started.

One day in 1996, I was summoned by Olubadan Operinde to his Palace at Isale ‘Jebu. Kabiyesi gave me a Royal Order to invite and escort to His Imperial Majesty, the late Chief Nathaniel Idowu, then the Chairman of the ODU’A INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED, where I was the pioneer General Manager of Corporate Affairs. Chief Idowu, the chairman of several blue chips multinationals, though an Ibadan indegene lived in Ikeja, Lagos State.

After intimating the Group Managing Director of OICL with Olubadan Operinde’s directive, I headed for Ikeja to deliver the royal order to Chief Idowu. All his questions to me asking to know why he was being summoned to Ibadan by Olubadan Operinde received no concrete answer from me, as Kabiyesi Olubadan didn’t tell me his reason or reasons for summoning the highly respected and influential business mogul, tentacles all over the world. I kept the night at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, and a subsidiary of the OICL.

Early the following day, I reported at Chief Idowu’s home on Adeniyi Jones Avenue, Ikeja GRA and we both headed for Ibadan, where Olubadan Operinde was waiting in his Palace to receive us, actually him, Chief Idowu. They both went in for a long, private meeting.

On our way out of the Palace, Chief Idowu revealed to me that Kabiyesi had ‘ordered’ him to immediately acquire the lidequated British Leyland Motor Assembly Company Limited on Iwo Road, Ibadan, which had been publicly put up for sale by the famous liquidator firm, BABINGTON ASHAYE & Co.

Lamenting in a sorrowful tone, Chief Idowu said Kabiyesi Olubadan Operinde could have called him on phone, rather than putting me on the road to him in Ikeja, as “I am not interested in acquiring British Leyland Motor Assembly Company Limited, Ibadan. I am aware of the vampire who wants it badly”

I sympathised with Chief Idowu on his plight, telling him that Olubadan Operinde must certainly have his royal reasons for choosing him (Idowu) to acquire the company.

The eventual purchase of the British Leyland Motor Assembly Company Limited, Ibadan by Chief Idowu nearly cost him his life.

The sour story of how the late brutal dictator, General Sani Abacha, who wanted to take over the motor company at all costs, is reserved for another day.

But, I will reveal, in this post, the relevant saga of Olubadan Operinde/Chief Idowu/Leyland to the title and body of this post.

Because of his mad (pardon my language) greed to acquire Leyland, Abacha was ready to crush, yes crush, anyone perceived by him to be an obstacle to his gobbling.

The then Oyo State Commissioner of Police was a ready tool of Abacha. He, the CP, invited Olubadan Operinde to the state headquarters of the Nigeria Police at Eleyele over the Leyland Company which had been invaded and sealed off; on the day newly-recruited staffs by Chief Idowu’s EBAODAN COMPANY LIMITED were to assume duties. I was the Pro Bono Media/PR Consultant to Chief Idowu and his new company.

As such, Kabiyesi Olubadan Operinde requested that I escort His Imperial Majesty to see the OYS Commissioner of Police at the State Police Headquarters at Eleyele.

Following is the absurd conversation between me and the CP in his office after we had arrived there and I had climbed the stairs to his fourth floor office of the building. Excerpts.

Me: Good morning, sir. I am Chief ‘Lekan Alabi, Senior Manager, Public Affairs of ODU’A INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED and Mogaji, Oyetunji Olundegun Chieftaincy Family, Isale ‘Jebu, Ibadan. I have accompanied Kabiyesi Olubadan Operinde 1 here on your summon for a meeting on the British Leyland Motor Assembly Company Limited, Iwo Road, Ibadan

CP: (Summons two officers to join him) Hello; you are welcome.Where is Kabiyesi?

Me: Kabiyesi is in his car downstairs.

CP: Let him come up.

Me: (shocked by the temerity of the CP). You want a nonegarian Oba to climb the stairs of your four-floor office to see you?

CP: (laughing) My friend, do you want me to go downstairs to meet him?

Me: Mr. CP, apart from Kaiyesi’s old age, he was a Commissioner in the cabinet of Dr  Majekodunmi, the Administrator of the Western Region in 1963. Before that, Olubadan Operinde was an officer/instructor in the British West African Force, the predecessors of the Nigerian Army and had fought in the Second World War in and outside Africa …………..

CP: (cutting in). My friend, you either go downstairs and fetch the Oba, or go away”.

Me: I was perplexed by the CP’s haughtiness, rose from my seat and exited his office.

Getting down, I relayed the bad drama of the CP to the Olubadan, who sighed out loud that it was him who had brought about Chief Idowu’s woes, in His Imperial Majesty’s desire to ensure that the Leyland Motor Assembly Company Limited remained in Ibadan.

Kabiyesi, thereafter, sought my opinion on the next step to take?

While I sympathised with Kabiyesi, I thought to myself that posterity would not record me as rubbishing an Olubadan before a rude Commissioner of Police who had not been born when the Oba was fighting to save the world during the 2nd WW. “O ya l’Aafin”, I instructed the royal driver.

*Senior Chief ‘Lekan Alabi, the Maye of Olubadan of Ibadanland writes from Ibadan, Oyo State.

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